// The Body Shop called out JK Rowling over a transphobic comments on Twitter
// Users said the retailer “bullied” the Harry Potter author after she spoke of abuse experiences
// Many have called for a boycott of The Body Shop following the comments
The Body Shop has sparked controversy after tweeting at Harry Potter author JK Rowling for making a transphobic comment about menstruation.
Social media users have called for a boycott of The Body Shop after accusing it of “bullying” Rowling.
The Harry Potter writer shared a link to an article titled “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-Covid-19 world for people who menstruate” on Saturday, with an accompanying tweet: “’People who menstruate’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
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She later tweeted a short thread that started with: “If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.”
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
I respect every trans person’s right to live any way that feels authentic and comfortable to them. I’d march with you if you were discriminated against on the basis of being trans. At the same time, my life has been shaped by being female. I do not believe it’s hateful to say so.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
Rowling’s weets, which many users described as transphobic as cisgender women are not the only ones who menstruate, sparked widespread backlash on social media and prompted her to double down and further elaborate on her views in an open letter published on Wednesday.
In response to the author’s tweet about menstruation, The Body Shop tweeted a photo of a red canvas bag reading: “It’s bloody natural. #DropThePWord to end period shame” with the tweet: “Hey @JK_Rowling here’s something we made earlier, we thought you might like one! We’ve also popped in a vegan bath bomb and a copy of Trans Rights by @paisleycurrah for you to read in the bath!”
Despite The Body Shop’s tweet seemingly being in support of trans rights, the statement was met with criticism on social media as many accused the retailer of “bullying” Rowling.
Hey @jk_rowling here's something we made earlier, we thought you might like one! We've also popped in a vegan bath bomb and a copy of Trans Rights by @paisleycurrah for you to read in the bath! pic.twitter.com/RNbPsSTS88
— The Body Shop (@TheBodyShop) June 10, 2020
“Wow, that’s appalling. Bullying a woman online is not a good look,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “What an incredibly unprofessional tweet from a supposedly ethical organisation.”
Meanwhile, other users suggested The Body Shop was making light of Rowling’s experiences of abuse and sexual assault, which she wrote about in her open letter.
“I’ve been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor,” Rowling wrote.
“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember.”
According to some, The Body Shop’s response was “tone-deaf” and appeared to “mock” Rowling’s past abuse.
One person tweeted: “Hey, everyone, The Body Shop thinks women talking about surviving domestic abuse is something to mock. What a look, eh?.”
However, others have applauded the company for standing up for the trans community.
“Thank You for saying it like it is. Menstruation doesn’t = woman/womanhood. We are not our bodies, we are more than that. The transphobia in some of these comments is so disgusting,” one person tweeted.
Another person said: “The Body Shop calls JK Rowling out for her transphobia and people get angry? This. This is the issue people. People support the rights of a white woman punching down at an oppressed minority and think they’re being feminist. This is how pervasive transphobia is.”
Separately, other people criticised JK Rowling for weaponising her past experience of domestic abuse to gain sympathy and to justify her transphobia.
Retail Gazette has contacted The Body Shop for comment.